Although crime in South Cambs is low, burglary isn’t rare, so thinking “it’s unlikely to happen to me” is the wrong approach. In fact most months it is usually in the top 2 most commonly occurring crimes in South Cambs. Have a look at the http://www.police.uk crime map to see crime in your area here:
There are a number of simple but effective ways you can reduce the chances of being burgled. Burglars go for easy targets, so make your house a bit more difficult for them.
Here are some tips and recommendations for securing your home:
Burglars don’t usually break in at the front of a house because they are more likely to be seen.
Ideally they want to get to the back of the house. Not being able to get into the back garden could easily be enough for a potential intruder to try another house.
Gate & Fence
• Fit high (6ft) 1.8m side gates with a latch. Having the latch at the top of the gate is a weakness-most burglars know to put their arm over the top to undo the latch so either fit a padlock to it or consider a second bolt further down as well.
• I’ve chased enough burglars over garden fences to know they are well practiced at hopping fences. So if you like gardening, perhaps consider a nice thorny holly bush or adding some trellis to the top of your fence (600mm). Alternatively, you can also use ‘prickle strips’ to deter a fence hopping burglar. (From personal experience of chasing a burglar over a fence with prickle strips on, I can assure you they really do hurt).
• Secure your shed. It is really common for burglars to break into your shed and then use your own tools to force a door or window of your house. Padlock your shed, don’t leave it open!
• Consider installing a simple, inexpensive, battery operated shed alarm. You can also secure items inside using a ‘shed shackle’ or similar device, see http://www.soldsecure.com for suppliers.
• Properly code items using a paint pen or etching and register items such as mowers and power tools with http://www.immobilise.com where you can register anything with a serial number and police forces use the system to track stolen property.
Simple measures like these can help to deter an intruder before they approach your home.
• Security lights. Yes, these really do work. Read here: https://southcambscops.org/2014/02/21/waterbeach-burglars-convicted/ This pair burgled several houses in one night but turned tail and ran from a house fitted with a simple motion activated security light.
• Light timers are a good deterrent too. Most people don’t get home from work until well after 5pm, but in the winter it gets dark before 4pm. No lights on are an easy way for burglars to locate an unoccupied house.
• CCTV is not as costly as many people believe and can be an effective tool in preventing a break in and at catching those responsible. If CCTV is what you want, I recommend avoiding the dome type cameras, they’re harder to spot and you want a potential intruder to spot the camera and be frightened away. Go for one that stands out. I particularly like the combination of a security light with a camera near it. When the light activates, an intruders’ natural reaction is to look at it. If they see a camera next to it, they will know you just got a shot of their face….and won’t stick around after that.
• Window alarms! – My personal favourite. Cheap as chips and super effective. These little devices attach to the inside of a window with adhesive tape and activate an alarm if the window is knocked near deafening the would-be thief. To prove their effectiveness, this guy was foiled by a window alarm: https://southcambscops.org/2014/11/21/gareth-farrington-the-unlucky-burglar-convicted/ You can turn them on/off from the inside with the flick of a switch and often you can adjust the sensitivity. I’ve got these on my ground floor windows and one on my back door too. They’re my top recommendation.
• House alarms are not as expensive as you may think. An off the shelf D.I.Y. system will cost between £150 and £200 (also consider fitting an auto-dialler @ £12 which will contact a list of numbers you have programmed in when the alarm is triggered). Monitored alarms for an average size property will typically be between £700 and £800. If you have high value items or you spend a lot of time away from home on holidays or business, it could be worth the investment. Always obtain at least two/ three quotes if you are purchasing a monitored alarm, or having a company install the system for you. Look for approved installers, see http://www.nsi.org.uk or go to S.S.I.A.B. approved installers to ensure the price and service are fair.
A few simple steps
• It is really common to find that a burglar has gained access to a house via a French door or patio door because they haven’t been adequately secured. Turning the key usually locks one door to the other. Make sure the second door is bolted too; small (mortice, or shoot-bolts) should go up and down into the door frame. Also look for hinge bolts on French doors to help secure the hinges, and prevent jemmy attacks. Patio doors should also be secured at the top and bottom of the opening section, check your patio door cannot be lifted out of the frame using a tool. Patio door locking bars are available, and window alarms can also be used on these doors too.
• Where do you keep your keys? An opened up wire coat hanger can be used to reach your keys and pull them out through the letterbox. Then the burglar can just let himself in or take your car off your drive. Don’t keep your keys anywhere near the doors or windows, they should be well out of view. Ideally take them up to bed with you at night.
• Everyone keeps their most valuable possessions, jewellery, expensive watches etc. in their bedroom. That’s why most burglars head straight for the master bedroom and go through the wardrobe and drawers. This sort of thing should be hidden away, especially the sentimental things that cannot be replaced. The loft, cupboard under the stairs, kitchen cabinets, the teapot – be imaginative, where wouldn’t a burglar think to look?
• Sometimes when we arrest a burglar we find plenty of stolen goods. But often we can’t return it to the owner because we can’t tell who it belonged to. For tools and equipment consider marking them clearly using a paint-pen or indelible marker, anything to mark them out as yours, there are also tamper-proof labels available, or etching kits.
• Register your valuables on: https://www.immobilise.com/index.php If you’ve got a nice pedal cycle, be sure to register it on the immobilise website and remember to include the frame number. Immobilise is especially useful for recording more unique items such as jewellery or antiques as you can take digital photos and add them to your online record.
• Encourage your friends to join eCops so they know what is going on in their area.
• If you’re interested in getting involved with Neighbourhood Watch, the first thing to do is check whether there’s a group in your area already. You can do this by checking the national Neighbourhood and home Watch website http://www.ourwatch.org.uk or contacting your area NHW representative by posting a request on the county website http://www.cambsnhw.org.uk
Christmas crime prevention:
- Tempting gift wrapped presents should not be left on show.
- Presents should be removed overnight from vehicles. If possible keep them indoors an out of sight.
- Communities can keep an eye out for elderly and vulnerable neighbours and encourage them follow security precautions.
- Empty boxes which could advertise Christmas purchases inside the house, should not be left on view outside.
- Once your gifts are unwrapped, they can be registered for free on the Immobilise database http://www.immobilise.com
For more information you might also find the following sites useful: